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Steam car to go for land speed record

Steam car to go for land speed record

作者:邱邹挟  时间:2019-03-02 02:10:00  人气:

By Max Glaskin Video: Steam car attempts a new land speed record (Image: Martin Burton) A new challenger to a 102-year-old world land speed record has been unveiled – and it’s powered by steam. A UK team hopes its 7.6 metre-long vehicle “Inspiration” will beat the 205.5 kilometres per hour record for a steam-powered car set in 1906 by the Stanley Rocket Racer on Daytona Beach. That was the last time a steam-powered vehicle held the land speed record – in 1907 a V8 motorcycle reached 219.3 kph and ushered in the age of internal combustion. However, the Stanley Rocket Racer remains the fastest ever steam-powered land vehicle. Inspiration’s record attempt is scheduled for August on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, US. So far, only its control, air and water systems have been thoroughly tested, separately. The car itself is yet to be properly put through its paces. If the car can be made to function correctly, then it should travel 10km during its record attempt – including acceleration and braking. The engine will drive Inspiration for just two minutes, reaching a top speed of up to 274kph. The car’s engine burns liquid petroleum gas to heat 40 litres of distilled water in 12 suitcase-sized boilers, creating superheated steam at a pressure of 40 bars and a temperature of 400°C. The steam then drives a two-stage turbine that spins at 13,000 revolutions per minute to power its wheels. What started life as a design exercise for postgraduate students at the University of Southampton in 1997 has evolved into a complex engineering jigsaw puzzle. The car is built from an unusual collection of bespoke and off-the-shelf components, from kettle elements to power station steam valves. At the media launch not even a breath of steam was produced, as a crucial air valve failed during testing the day before. The team admits its still has work to do. “Perhaps it’s a folly and eccentric,” said chief engineer Matt Candy, “but to get this eclectic mix to work together will be a real challenge.” RAF wing commander Andy Green, who drove the world’s first supersonic car to break the world land speed record in 1997, described Inspiration as a “home science” project. “But home science was what Orville and Wilbur Wright were doing,” he added, before standing back so that a team of firemen could push the powerless steam car into a more photogenic position. Cars and Motoring – Learn more about the latest technologies in our comprehensive special report. More on these topics: